by Nelson Sibanda
The contents of the new draft constitution were dictated by President Robert
Mugabe, Zanu (PF) negotiator to Copac Paul Mangwana told journalists at an
informal discussion last Friday. He said Mugabe did not want the views of
the people to prevail as they were detrimental to the party. The journalists
had gathered for a press conference on the hero status of late Vice
President John Nkomo.
Discussing Copac issues with predominantly state-owned media reporters in
the 14th floor board room of the party’s HQ, Mangwana said: “As Zanu (PF) we
got our way regarding the constitution making. ‘Mudhara’ (Mugabe) warned us
against compromising on the most important aspects of the constitution.
“Regarding the running mates issue we had to be cleverer than MDC. Mugabe
made it very clear that this issue would further divide and destroy Zanu
(PF). The fact that he would be forced to nominate running mates would also
isolate him from the people, as he was likely to choose running mates out of
favour with remaining party supporters.”
Mangwana emphasised that Mugabe made it abundantly clear that: “Whatever you
agree at Copac should never result in immediate implementation of the
running mate clause. You must outwit MDC and have the running mate clause
take effect after 10 years - as something will have happened by then.”
Mangwana said in order to outwit MDC Zanu (PF) had to tactfully acknowledge
that the running mate clause was a brilliant idea - but not for now. On the
fate of incumbent Zanu (PF) vice presidents, Mangwana said their offices
would be disempowered as the authority they hold would be transferred to the
national chairperson’s office. He said the arrangement that the Attorney
General would now sit in cabinet while the Prosecutor General would be
responsible for all prosecutions, was a good set up for Zanu (PF).
“Also remember the Supreme Court would be the constitutional court for the
next 10 years if the draft constitution gets the people’s approval at the
referendum. Your guess on what will happen there is as good as mine,” said
Mangwana with a smile.
Asked by this reporter if the constitution breakthrough suited Zanu (PF),
Mangwana said: “At face value people would think MDC won the
constitution-making deal. Remember, Zanu (PF) controls institutions of
power. At the end of the day, the head of state who is supposed to sign the
constitution Act into law is Zanu (PF). There was no way the constitution
process would have progressed without our nod.” Mangwana said Zanu (PF)
panicked last week when MDC negotiators told Mugabe’s party to go to hell if
it did not want to compromise on outstanding issues. “We caught a cold when
negotiators from MDC formations showed us the exit door if we were not
prepared to give in to their demands. We lost sleep and had to engage their
secretary generals for a breakthrough.
“Consensus was only reached an hour before we briefed leaders of the three
parties on progress. The breakthrough was also made hastily out of fear that
our (negotiators’) credibility would be questioned by the GNU principals,”
The breakthrough has activated political activity around the country, with
political parties increasing regularity of party meetings. Zimbabwe is back
into the tense election mood. As MDC-T is conducting countrywide debriefing
meetings about the status of the constitution and the way forward, the Zanu
(PF) commissariat is frantically revisiting the party membership register to
take audit of party structures from cell to provincial level.
By Tichaona Sibanda
24 January 2013
ZANU PF’s decision to endorse the draft constitution at its politburo
meeting on Wednesday has prompted speculation that there will be a general
‘Yes’ for the draft in the upcoming referendum.
The two MDC formations endorsed the new draft in August last year. It is now
believed that the combined force of supporters representing all the three
parties will ensure a ‘Yes’ vote.
However, despite the endorsement of the document by the three parties in the
GPA, Mavambo, Kusile, Dawn (MKD) leader Simba Makoni said he strongly
believes negotiations to come up with a final draft were made to suit
political parties or its leaders.
Makoni told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that he’s not comfortable with the
deferment of certain clauses in the constitution just because the leaders or
negotiators could not find common ground.
“At the end of the day, it was the principals who had the final say on the
constitution and not parliament as stipulated in the GPA. What we need to do
now is study the draft whenever it is made available so that we can make an
informed decision whether or not to vote in the forthcoming referendum,”
A source close to the deliberations at which the principals struck the deal
to back the draft, said all they did was to work with information they had
on the table.
Political analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga said Thursday it was highly likely the
principals were guided by what was in front of them when they agreed on all
the unresolved issues.
“It would have been political suicide for both (Robert) Mugabe and (Morgan)
Tsvangirai to make concessions without consulting their parties,” Mhlanga
SW Radio Africa is reliably informed the principals had a working document
that they used as a guideline to bridge the differences that the committee
failed to resolve. This guideline was drafted by the committee a day before
the principals met at State House to deliberate on the draft charter.
Thomas Chiripasi, Blessing Zulu
Former Finance Minister and leader of the Mavambo Kusile Dawn party is
calling on the parliamentary committee in charge of the constitutional
revision process, COPAC, to release a detailed report of issues that were
agreed on by the unity government principals.
MKD leader Simba Makoni told a news conference in Harare on Wednesday that
his party wants the unity government principals and COPAC to release the
report and spell out the issues that had stalled the constitution revision
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Arthur
Mutambara, and leader of the other Movement for Democratic Change formation,
Welshman Ncube, met at State House last Thursday and approved compromises
and changes that COPAC members made to a number of key sections of the draft
The changes were made to bridge the parties' differences over issues, such
as devolution and the role of the attorney general.
Makoni said it is in the public interest for a report to be published so
that Zimbabweans can see exactly what changes were made.
The MKD leader and former Zanu-PF Politburo member said his party will take
a position of whether to campaign for or against the adoption of the draft
constitution in a referendum after scrutinizing its contents despite the
process having been fraught with irregularities.
Makoni also castigated Zanu-PF’s COPAC co-chair Paul Mangwana who was quoted
in the media as saying if the draft constitution is rejected, President
Mugabe may call for elections on the terms of the constitution but without
the 19th amendment that established the unity government.
The 19th amendment names Mr. Mugabe as president and Mr. Tsvangirai as prime
Makoni said he would like to see a grand coalition of democratic parties and
groups ahead of the elections expected to be held sometime this year.
He contested in the 2008 presidential polls, receiving 8 percent of the
vote. It was a strong enough showing to force a second round of voting,
which was disputed and led to the formation of the unity government.
Meanwhile, foreign engagements by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai are delaying the proclamation of a date for the long
delayed constitutional referendum that will pave way for general election
later this year.
Mr. Tsvangirai is currently in Davos, Switzerland, attending the World
Economic Forum meeting. Mr. Mugabe is expected to leave Harare on Friday for
the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The two leaders had been expected to meet Thursday to receive the complete
draft constitution then discuss the date for the referendum. But the meeting
has been pushed to next week.
However, Mr. Tsvangirai speaking to Bloomberg in Switzerland said the
referendum will be in March and elections will follow thereafter. He said
the referendum will be a mere formality since there is national consensus by
Efforts to reach Mr. Tsvangirai’s acting spokesman William Bango in Davos
were futile as he did not pick up his phone.
Chairman Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly that has
been campaigning against the constitution-making process said Mr. Tsvangirai
is misleading himself by claiming there is consensus on the constitutional
by Staff Reporter
ZANU PF has said it will back the new constitution when it is put to a
referendum and brushing aside Mavambo Kusile leader Simba Makoni's criticism
of the compromiseagreed by GPA leaders last week.
President Robert Mugabe and MDC leaders Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube
and Arthur Mutambara last week reached a deal that rescued the country’s
constitutional reform process which had stalled over disagreements between
But Makoni, an ex-Zanu PF politburo member who quit the party to challenge
Mugabe in the 2008 election, said the leaders had “usurped the mandate of
Parliament” adding the deal they reached also “violated the terms of the
However, Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said Makoni was not worth anyone’s
time dismissing the former Finance Minister as a political loner who
“represents nothing but himself”.
“It (Makoni’s criticism) is not surprising. He does not have people and does
not have any responsibility, so what should we expect from him?” said Gumbo.
Makoni accused Tsvangirai of going back on a pledge to ensure a “people
driven” constitutional process and agreeing a deal with Mugabe that
essentially seeks to address thorny succession issues in Zanu PF.
“Maybe the presidents of the MDC Formations might care to explain to their
members, and to all other citizens, why it is now their primary concern and
responsibility to … `deal with internal fissures in … ZANU PF’. Is ZANU PF,
in turn, dealing with the internal fissures in the MDCs?” Makoni told
reporters in Harare Wednesday.
“We are appalled by the cowardice and pliancy of COPAC and the whole
Parliament, in abdicating from their responsibility to produce a draft
constitution, and put it to the people of Zimbabwe!”
But Gumbo charged: “What else does he want? Which people is he talking
about? What is he representing? He represents nothing but himself and I don’t
think he has any support at all to talk about; we are talking of millions of
people who came out with these ideas.
“We have a responsibility, we went out on an outreach programme to find out
what people wanted and that is what is in the proposed constitution and that
is what was agreed upon.”
Gumbo official said Zanu PF, whose objections to the COPAC draft had stalled
the process, would now back the constitution when it is put to a referendum.
“We looked at the agreement reached by principals on the constitution and we
fully endorse the agreement,” he said.
“We are going to do everything in our power to ensure that we go to the
referendum and the general election.”
Zimbabwe is, this year, expected to hold fresh polls to replace the
coalition government which came into office in 2009 and is credited with
helping ease political tensions as well as ending a decade-long economic
A new constitution was part of a raft of reforms the MDC parties hope will
help ensure a credible vote after violent but inconclusive elections in
on January 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm
Report by Xolisani Ncube
HARARE – Police yesterday picked up several people for questioning as
investigations into the suspected bomb explosion that rocked Zengeza suburb
in Chitungwiza on Monday afternoon continues.
Aftermath of Chitungwiza blast
Harare police spokesperson, Tadious Chibanda, said elaborate investigations
were underway and officers from the Law and Order unit were handling the
case. “We have moved the case to Law and Order,” he told the Daily News
“Zimbabweans should wait for us. Our officers from there will work closely
with the army bomb disposal department as well as forensic experts to give
us the real cause.” The investigations are being done at senior level as the
matter is being treated as a serious security issue.
Police are following various leads while the superstitious believe it is
black magic which caused the explosion. Sources told the Daily News that
traces of red mercury were found at the house giving rise to the argument
that the explosion could have been caused by a bomb.
Retired brigadier Felix Muchemwa, a former military supremo, told State TV
yesterday that from preliminary investigations, the impact of the explosion
and its effects point to a bomb explosion.
“There is no mysticism involved,” Muchemwa said. “All the signs point to an
incendiary bomb and talk that there was no fire is hogwash. “How could
people be burnt without fire?” asked Muchemwa confirming the Daily News
story yesterday that the explosion could have been caused by a bomb.
According to police sources, the wife of a deceased businessman who had gone
to consult the traditional healer, an aide to the late traditional healer
and another unidentified person were taken in for questioning yesterday.
Meanwhile, Chitungwiza Town Council has pledged to assist victims of the
deadly blast — some of whom lost everything — by providing them with shelter
When the Daily News crew arrived at the scene yesterday, municipal workers
were busy clearing off debris from the damaged houses. Council was moving to
pitch tents for temporary shelter. – Daily News
Thursday, 24 January 2013 00:00
Michael Chideme Senior Reporter
The Zengeza traditional healer’s 17-year-old wife opened up yesterday saying
she felt electric shock in the blast that claimed her husband and four other
people on Monday afternoon. The cause of the blast has not yet been
Ms Liliyosa Nyawata, the traditional healer’s wife, said that her husband
could have survived the explosion had he been attended to earlier.
The couple had been together for a couple of weeks.
Speaking at Chitungwiza General Hospital mortuary where she joined the
Mandere family to collect Speakmore Mandere’s remains, Ms Nyawata said she
had eloped to the traditional healer three weeks ago.
The couple had stayed at 4 Ndororo Street for only 10 days.
The families had not yet collected the bodies late yesterday afternoon.
They, however, indicated that they would bury their relatives today.
The traditional healer died together with four other people who include
kombi operator Mr Clever Kamudzeya, baby Kelly Chimina and two unidentified
Nyawata said she had just arrived at the house when the incident occurred.
She was with Kamudzeya’s wife and two other women when the explosion
The women had gone to fetch water for domestic use in the suburb. They had
used Kamudzeya’s vehicle to fetch water.
“When we got home there were some people intending to see my husband. They
wanted to be attended to,” she said.
Nyawata said as she put the last bucket into the house she heard a huge
blast and found herself “tucked into a refrigerator”.
“I got some electric shocks. I finally managed to escape. Once I was outside
I looked for my husband.
“I saw him lying motionless outside. He was bleeding from the nose and mouth
but was still breathing,” she said.
She said as the ambulance took her to the hospital she told the crew that
her husband was still breathing, but they ignored her.
Nyawata said when the blast occurred there were eight adults in the house.
Four women were in the dining room while the men were in another bedroom.
“I had stayed with him for three weeks. We were planning to get a
traditional marriage,” she said.
She dismissed reports that there was a dispute between her and her
ex-husband only identified as Shumba.
She said her ex-husband was from Mberengwa and works for a Harare car
“I had a child with him when I was 14 years old. He paid part of the lobola
but I decided I could not stay with him because of the ill-treatment I got.
I left him in October,” she said.
She said she met Mandere when she had returned to her parents’ home in the
Nyawata dismissed as fictitious reports that her ex-husband had been
deported to Malawi and was seeking revenge.
Across town in St Mary’s at the Kamudzeya family, friends and relatives were
gathered and preparing to travel to Watambwa Village in Chihota for the
Robert Kamudzeya, an elder brother to Clever, said the family was still not
aware of what had caused the blast.
“We are concerned about the media reports. We are sure the incident had
nothing to do with lightning,” he said.
His son Tichaona said the family was devastated by the death of a “loving
and caring father”.
At the scene of the blast, neighbours suggested that traditional healers
should not be allowed to operate within residential areas.
Mr Blessing Magaya said they should operate in secluded areas away from the
“Now we are all suffering,” he said.
Ms Felistas Dumba, daughter to Mandere’s landlord, said the family would not
sell the property.
“In future such healers should have their own premises away from the rest of
us,” she said.
Mr Kennedy Mangenje said council should allocate traditional healers an area
to build their “surgeries”.
Most of Sekuru Shumba’s paraphernalia was taken to the police station
Mandere’s father and some of the victims also gave statements to the police
Among Mandere’s belongings was the clay pot that survived the blast, raising
eyebrows among residents.
The clay pot had inexplicably survived the blast with residents claiming
that it was part of the traditional healer’s apparatus.
Authorities in Chitungwiza had also hired earthmoving equipment to clear
rubble from the site.
The equipment had yesterday cleared the rubble from the damaged houses.
Chitungwiza residents continued to throng the area to catch a glimpse of
activities at the site.
Police also maintained their presence to control the crowd.
Mr Oliver Dumba, the landlord, said he would rebuild his seven-roomed house
as it was his only source of guaranteed revenue.
“I am 66 years old and am a retired bus driver. I worked for Harare Omnibus
Company,” he said.
Mr Dumba said he would look for a job to earn a living.
Harare police spokesman Inspector Tedious Chibanda said police were still
waiting for results from the specialists who include pathologists and the
army bomb disposal unit.
“By tomorrow (today) we will know the direction,” he said.
Inspector Chibanda said the matter had now been referred to the CID Law and
Order Unit because of its nature.
He confirmed that post-mortems had been carried out on all the five bodies
He said results would be made public soon.
24 January 2013
By Alex Bell
The government is being urged to intervene in the ZANU PF takeover of the
Renco Mine, believed to be part of a strategy to force the company to abide
by the party’s indigenisation campaign.
Last week, ZANU PF’s Chivi South MP Irvine Dzingirai declared he was the new
manager of the mine, which has been the site of a labour dispute for several
weeks. Production there had ceased last Monday after workers’ wives and
local villagers barricaded the main gate demanding an improvement in workers’
conditions and community assistance projects.
The MDC-T spokesperson for Masvingo province, Harrison Mudzuri, confirmed on
Thursday that Dzingirai has declared himself the new general manager of the
mine and is refusing to give up the position. Mudzuri told SW Radio Africa
that there is an appeal to the government, particularly the Labour and the
Mines Ministries to intervene.
“Dzingirai is trying to threaten workers to either join ZANU PF or they will
be fired. We are concerned because this is a labour dispute that is being
politicised by ZANU PF,” Mudzuri told SW Radio Africa.
Mudzuri added: “I spoke to Dzingirai on the phone and he told me that: ‘ZANU
PF are doing what we did on the farms, and we are just waiting for
(Indigenisation Minister) Kasukuwere to confirm the 51% handover of the mine’.”
The MDC-T spokesperson said ZANU PF is trying to use “political muscle to
make sure no one intervenes.” He said the labour dispute at Renco should be
dealt with, without political interference.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
24 January 2013
Village heads and traditional leaders continue to be targeted by ZANU PF
officials, who are demanding lists of all the residents under their
jurisdiction and a breakdown of what political party they support.
Voters in many parts of the country are also being reminded of the election
violence from 2008, believed to be part of a campaign by ZANU PF to instil
fear in the electorate ahead of elections due later this year.
Reports were recently received from Mberengwa South, Masvingo Province, that
ZANU PF councillor Vakai Makuverere and two other party officials threatened
to beat up headmen and sabhukus who had more than five MDC supporters on
According to SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme, Makuverere told
residents that they ‘seem to have forgotten’ what was done after the
elections in 2008. He said they would “deal with” those who continue to
support any party other than ZANU PF.
Saungweme said: “Makuverere addressed residents at Makuverere Business
Centre in Mberengwa South on January 15. He was in the company of Rumbidzai
Bera, the ZANU PF Women’s Wing Chairperson for Ward 24, and another
identified as ZANU PF Coordinator, Sibusisiwe Siwela.”
At the meeting, which took place last week Tuesday, Makuverere demanded that
each village head bring separate lists of ZANU PF and MDC-T members in the
Makuverere is quoted as saying: “I want these lists because people seem to
have forgotten what we did to them in 2008.”
In the run-up to the 2008 presidential runoff, ZANU PF embarked on a brutal
campaign of violence against supporters of the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai.
Hundreds of perceived enemies were murdered, thousands were assaulted or
tortured and hundreds of thousands displaced.
Makuverere added: “We want to know how many MDC-T supporters you have in
your book. If a Village Head has more than five names of MDC-T members in
his book, we will not only beat him up. We will deal with him. Everybody
here knows how. Be warned.”
Saungweme said Mberengwa was hit hard by the election violence of 2008, and
many victims of ZANU PF attacks arrived in Bulawayo that year with horrific
injuries and stories to tell.
A Chegutu activist named Machacha told SW Radio Africa that residents in the
town and remote areas are being reminded that the house of the Mayor at the
time, Francis Dhlakama, was bombed in 2008.
The MDC secretary general for Mashonaland West in 2008, Gift Konjana, was
also victimised. And the home of Councillor Gadzema from ward 20 was burned
down and any remaining parts were sold.
These reminders of the vicious violence campaign of 2008 have caused many
observers to dismiss Robert Mugabe’s repeated calls for peace. It is widely
believed that Mugabe says one thing while his party officials and supporters
do the exact opposite.
24 January 2013
By Alex Bell
The call this week by the MDC-T for an urgent land audit has been welcomed
as a necessary step towards bringing the agricultural sector out of ‘turmoil’.
Morgan Tsvangirai’s party made this urgent call following a ruling by the
High Court on Tuesday that the Ministry of Lands should have a clear,
transparent and accountable land allocation policy. In his judgment, Justice
Bharat Patel slammed the Lands Ministry over its “murkiness” in land
distribution. He then reversed a Ministry decision from 2005 to offer Denby
Farm in Seke to a senior ZANU PF politician who already had another farm
allocated to him in 2001.
“The MDC condemns the continued greed shown by the senior ZANU PF
politicians in acquiring more than one farm and the MDC’s position remains
that there should be a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land
audit to weed out multiple farm ownerships and identify underutilised land
as stipulated by the law,” the party said in a statement.
After a decade of chaos that highlighted ZANU PF’s partisan land
redistribution campaign, the country is unable to feed itself and is once
again turning to international donors for food aid. Despite this, land grabs
have continued and most recently Grace Mugabe was reported to have taken
over part of the lucrative Mazoe Estates in Mazowe. The First Lady already
owns multiple properties as a result of the land grab.
The MDC-T said in its statement that it is “important for the inclusive
government, to carry out a land audit in line with the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) in order to reassert agriculture on the pole position as the
country’s economic mainstay.”
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Charles Taffs told SW Radio Africa
that the call is ‘overdue’ but welcome.
“A land audit was part of the agreement that formed that government of
national unity and four years down the line we still haven’t had a land
audit. In fact the European Union has offered to finance one. So the fact
that one hasn’t taken place confirms our suspicions that they (the
government) actually don’t want it because it is indeed chaotic and unfair
and biased,” Taffs said.
He urged the MDC-T to ensure their call results in action, saying Zimbabwe
“desperately” needs a proper audit to start the recovery process that will
help the agriculture sector grow.
“However there is great resistance because if it was done properly it would
expose the multiple ownership of land distribution which would emphasise how
unfair and unjust the whole system has been,” Taffs said.
He added: “Agriculture is in turmoil and we need to fix it. The current
status quo cannot continue because it is holding the country to ransom.”
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 17:51
Tabitha Mutenga, Farming Reporter
THE continued uncertainty over the country's land reform programme has left
the agricultural sector in turmoil, 13 years since government embarked on
agrarian reforms under which white-owned farms were forcibly expropriated
for the resettlement of blacks, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has said.
In 2000 agricultural production was 4,2 million tonnes but production has
declined steadily over the years to about 2,1 million tonnes in 2012,
contributing to the deteriorating food security situation. Late and erratic
rains, poor agricultural practices, constrained access to inputs, and a
reduction in planted area have all contributed to a reduction of the
national cereal harvest by 33 percent last year.
CFU president Charles Taffs said agriculture has been the back bone of
Zimbabwe's economy. Ho-wever, the nationalisation and acquisition of some
11,8 million hectares of commercial farm land, which was previously held
under free hold title, has seen the end of secure property rights and of
investor confidence not only in agriculture but across all sectors.
"The rural infrastructure is collapsing, thousands of kilometers of fencing
have been removed, conservation land laws are being openly disregarded with
dire environmental consequences, earthen dam walls are becoming unstable due
to little or no maintenance over the period, all leading to the well
publicised serious agricultural deficits as well as mass migration from
rural land to the towns and cities, putting those very towns and cities
under increasing infrastructural pressure," Taffs said.
"For the past 13 years Zimbabwe has been a net importer of basic food
commodities we believe largely due to the result of the negative impact of
the fast track land reform programme on investor confidence."
Despite the heavy rains, Taffs predicted another poor agricultural season
"We are now in the middle of the 2012/2013 agricultural season and despite
the recent good rains we will again be turning to the donor community for
food assistance and as a farming community in partnership with our
government it is our combined duty and responsibility to supply raw
materials for industry and export as well as to adequately feed the nation.
We are quite clearly failing. We at the CFU firmly believe that this
situation need not continue and that a solution to this crisis can be
found," he added.
The CFU president ca-lled for a fair, all inclusive, focused and
implementable short term solution, which will be able to re-establish an
active land market on the back of which a strong financial industry can be
"It must provide a platform upon which all sectors can thrive; it must also
re-establish lost values placing those values back into the economy for the
benefit of all. This solution must re-establish the basic fundamental
foundations needed for rapid economic recovery and economic gain those being
sound property rights," he said.
Taffs urged all farmers to take advantage of the rising global food demand
together with the rising commodity prices, "we as a country have massive
po-tential to take advantage of this phenomenon."
Although government has refused to pay compensation to former white
commercial farmers for im-provements made on farms before the land reform
exercise, Taffs said, it was key to the revival of the agricultural sector
and investor confidence.
"Government's inability and failure to pay compensation and bring closure to
the acquisition process has crippled the institutional capacity to lend into
this sector. National collateral has effectively been undermined and all
agricultural land in Zimbabwe is now an impaired economic asset, while
lending to the agricultural sector has become excessively constrained and
is heavily risk loaded resulting in massive limitations to production.
Compensation is expe-cted to give finality to the land question in Zimbabwe
and give current farmers security of tenure, allowing them to fully invest
on the land knowing the ownership part is solved permanently. Uncertainties
in land ownership have been hampering productivity on the farms as farmers
could not fully commit their reso-urces on land for which they have no
The Agricultural Recov-ery and Compensa-tion, a unit of the CFU, is
demanding US$10 billion compensation from the government for land seized.
Loirdham Moyo, Gibbs Dube
The multimillion dollar Chisumbanje ethanol plant is expected to resume its
operations soon, after 18 months with no production and wrangling with the
local community over a host of issues.
The plant owners, Green Fuel (Pvt) Limited, pledged it would address
villagers’ concerns, clearing the way for the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development to gazette a rule requiring it to blend its ethanol. This, in
turn, would pave the way for Green Fuel to sell its product and resume
Green Fuel has also assured villagers that it would fulfill social
responsibilities, provide irrigated farmlands, pay compensation for lost
land, and stop confiscating livestock (though officials warn that city
bylaws still permit livestock to be impounded under certain circumstances).
The company returned to negotiate with villagers last Friday as an ongoing
land dispute and other challenges prompted the government to block Green
Fuel from selling its product. With more than 80 million litres of ethanol
unsold, Green Fuel managers felt they could no longer afford not to address
Green Fuel General Manager Graham Smith said the firm has lost 18 months of
business and retrenched over 1,000 workers while the plant has been idle.
The Friday meeting with company representatives, villagers and local
government representatives concluded with the company addressing villagers'
major concerns, including a promise that livestock will not be confiscated
or sold at auction by the company.
Headman Phineas Nyamukwakwa said he was upbeat about the discussions,
calling them a step forward. He said a new deal with the firm would ensure a
more cooperative relationship.
Nyamukwakwa said: “We want the project to go ahead, as we are very hungry
here. We want irrigation to sustain the people here. It is drought prone in
this part of the country and an irrigation scheme from Green Fuel would go a
long way to alleviate the problem.”
Chisumbanje villager Elisha Moyana said he hopes a deal will mean that
development may be forthcoming.
Meki Makuyana, Member of Parliament for Chipinge-South, where the project is
hosted, said he is optimistic that the agreement outlined on Friday would
ensure that the community may benefit.
“We want social problems to be addressed first,” said Mr. Makuyana, adding
that “and as a sitting MP I want that to be fulfilled. The relationship
between the company and the villagers is very important for the survival of
Claris Madhuku of the Platform for Youth Development, an organization that
works for the rights of the villagers in Chisumbanje, said he is happy that
a dialogue between Green Fuel and villagers has started.
Mr. Madhuku said the firm must ensure the villagers' expectations are
fulfilled for the good of the project.
“The committee we have now is very progressive, which is good for the
project,” Madhuku said. “We are happy there is progress, as we are starting
to speak to each other, which we did not do before. There has to be
cooperation between investors and local people for us to achieve what we
want, which is development.”
Green Fuel spokesperson Lillian Muungani said she was also pleased about the
resumption of dialogue.
Ethanol is the chemical name for alcohol, the same alcohol in wine and beer.
It is produced from the fermentation of biomass materials, such as sugar
cane. Mixed, or blended, with other fuels such as gasoline, ethanol helps
improve fuel efficiency.
Meanwhile, some fuel service station owners said Green Fuel needs to
extensively market its products before selling ethanol to zimbabweans.
They said the company’s ethanol prices cannot compete if ethanol is not
cheaper than gasoline at the pump.
Fuel service station owner, Abednico Bhebhe, said many people are also
unsure about using the blended fuel in their vehicles.
The company’s ethanol price was one dollar 10c per litre in the local market
before it stopped production. Ethanol is priced internationally between 72c
and 75c per litre. Zimbabwe is yet to pass a law compelling motorists to use
fuel blended with locally produced ethanol.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 17:56
CHINESE investors, who now dominate Zimbabwe's troubled chrome mining
sector, have violated environmental laws, leaking poison into Ngezi River
and threatening its delicate aquaculture, the environment and downstream
communities, a report has revealed.
Ngezi River flows through the chrome-rich Midlands province which is
dominated by Chinese investors.
The Johannesburg headquartered Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) said
the scale of environmental hazards posed by Chinese chrome mining had
reached alarming levels as some had even started operations without
Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).
"In Zimbabwe mining companies generally, the Chinese and Russians included,
violate sections of the Mines and Minerals Act on land reclamation," SARW
said in its report, released last year, which also looked at Zambia and the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
"There are specific cases of the disregard of the environment by Chinese
enterprises. In the Midlands province, Chinese companies are illegally
mining chrome without the requisite EIA reports. One of them had set up a
chrome washing plant on the banks of Ngezi River in contravention of the
country's environmental laws," the report added.
SARW's report said thousands of families in both existing and abandoned
mines were at risk following the contamination of rivers. An old report by
the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) said at least 6 000 families in
decommissioned mines across the country were in danger of contracting
diseases as toxic chemicals from abandoned shafts have contaminated their
water sources and the environment. EMA, which has lashed out at mining
giants for neglecting mines once they exhausted mineral extraction, did not
mention vice by Chinese investors in the extractive sectors.EMA warned that
the large amounts of harmful chromium increased people's exposure to skin
rash or sores. If swallowed, some chromium compounds can seriously damage
the throat, stomach, intestines, kidneys, and circulatory blood system. It
is difficult, however, to regulate Chinese investors in Zimbabwe.
In a much publicised incident, government courted public ire after granting
a Chinese firm the greenlight to construct a hotel in Harare even as an EIA
had warned of dire consequences to fauna and flora. Zimbabweans providing
cheap labour in the fast-growing Chinese mines bear the brunt of extremely
harsh conditions and low wages.
Hard labour, exposure to risky conditions, violation of labour laws, long
working hours, non payment of overtime, disregard of public holidays and use
of Chinese language in corporate literature were among extreme conditions
faced by workers at most Chinese interests in Zimbabwe, the SARW report
said. "The culprits are the small Chinese mining companies, said SARW.
Most Chinese mining firms exceed the legally stipulated working hours of
eight hours per day. They generally work 12 to 18 hours.
"At Makwiro platinum concessions, workers complained that they do not get
overtime for the 12 hours per day they work, and are instead asked to take
time off. Local holidays are not observed. Protective clothing (if any) was
also said to be in short supply, and workers had been observed wearing their
own clothes for work."
Zimbabwe has depended on Chinese investments for a decade and appears
politically weak to speak out against excessive violations taking place in
The Chinese built the National Sport Stadium over two decades ago, and
recently funded the construction of a defence college, the ZANU PF hall in
Gweru and donated a US$11 million plane, fortifying their influence in the
By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Thursday, 24 January 2013 11:59
HARARE - Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara ejected German ambassador to
Zimbabwe Hans Gunter Gnodkte from his office last week, after he protested
the seizure of Save Valley Conservancies protected under bilateral
Gnodkte confirmed to the Daily News that Mutambara had abruptly terminated
“What I can say is I had a scheduled meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister
last week on Friday,” Gnodkte said.
“I had asked to meet him in his capacity as the chairperson of the
ministerial committee that is trying to find a solution to the problems in
the Save Wildlife Sanctuary.
“You might be aware that a German, Wilfried Pabst is a major investor in the
conservancy and is protected by Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreements (BIPPAs). The meeting raised controversial issues and
the DPM abruptly ended it.”
The German envoy refused to state what exactly had caused the diplomatic
Insiders told the Daily News Mutambara had blown his top after the illegal
expropriations were raised in the meeting.
“Mutambara threw the German ambassador out of his office in the presence of
the European Union Ambassador,” our source said.
“Both were making representations on the issue of government or National
Parks continuing to illegally hold back hunting permits for the Save Valley
as well as the Bubye Conservancy. I understand the PM apologized but the DPM
was out of control.”
The fight has also reportedly attracted the attention of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now trying to mediate.
Two weeks ago, Gnodtke warned that his country and other European countries
may boycott the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general
assembly to be co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in August, in protest over
the decimation of the Save Valley conservancies, properties protected
under overseas government-to-government agreements.
Mutambara meanwhile would not be drawn into commenting about the stand-off,
despite promises since last Saturday to return calls.
Mutambara kicks out German envoy Tsvangirai’s spindoctors were unreachable
yesterday as they were away in Davos Switzerland attending the World
Mutambara heads a ministerial committee that is supposed to find a solution
to the emotive issue of the Save wildlife sanctuary — currently under siege
from a group of Zanu PF politicians now known as the “Masvingo 37”.
The group is invading the private properties under a murky policy known as
the wildlife-based land reform.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi fighting to preserve and even grow the
country’s battered image ahead of the UNWTO tourism extravaganza.
Africa’s top news editors are in Harare this week to learn more about
Zimbabwe’s media landscape and see firsthand preparations for the United
Nations World Tourism Organization General Assembly gathering slated for
Victoria Falls later this year.
Chairpersons for the African Editors’ Forums across the continent are in
Zimbabwe for two days to assess the media, political, and social
environments in the country.
Zimbabwe National Editors Forum chairman Brian Mangwende said: “The visit
will also enable the editors from other African countries to appreciate the
challenges Zimbabwe faces and help reestablish contacts for news and current
Mr. Mangwende said the visit may also strengthen links between editors and
media advocacy groups in the region and the continent. The African editors
are meeting media organizations, such as the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
(ZUJ), the Zimbabwe Media Commission, the Voluntary Media Council of
Zimbabwe, and others.
The group was also expected to meet Webster Shamu, Minister of Media and
Information, and Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi, who will update editors on
the country’s preparations for the UN tourism gathering scheduled for
Victoria Falls and Livingstone in August.
Some of those visiting include Mourmina Cheriff Sy of Burkina Faso,
Elizabeth Kalambo-Mule of Namibia and Mpho Dibeela of Botswana.
Mr. Mangwende said the media in Zimbabwe face serious challenges, including
repressive media laws.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary Foster Dongozi said the operating
environment was unsafe.
“Then, of course,” Mangwende said, “the issue of continued harassment of
journalists by the police and militia. That has been …recurring regularly,
and that is unacceptable and we cannot allow that to continue. The beating
up of newspaper vendors, people that sell newspapers, has also been common
in 2012, and that again is unacceptable.”
Mr. Dongozi said ZUJ feared the situation would deteriorate this year as the
country is expected to hold a constitutional referendum and elections.
Violence has marred Zimbabwe’s politics for a long time now with political
parties fanning disturbances in their quest to win elections.
Now party leaders are vowing to stop political violence by pledging to
follow a code of conduct created by the Organ on National Healing,
Reconciliation and Integration.
The organ and its code seek to hold political parties accountable for the
violence their supporters commit.
National Healing Minister Sekai Holland of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the code of
conduct is voluntary and follows the country’s traditional ways of dealing
But the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s code of conduct is on the statutes
and criminalises acts of violence with penalties, including jail time.
Holland said the principals are expected to sign the document at the end of
February to coincide with the launch of a new history project for the
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 18:38
Paul Nyakazeya, Staff Reporter
PLANS by government to establish management working boards at all provincial
and district hospitals have been put on ice due to lack of funding.
The plan had been mooted after the successful establishment of such boards
at all central hospitals since 2005 in accordance with the Health Services
Act to enhance accountability in the handling of health funds and improve
the health delivery system, said to be in the intensive care.
Health and Child Welfare Minister Henry Madzorera said nothing looks likely
to materialise this month as had been expected.
“I do not see the plan materialising this month as planned and cannot say
when it will happen,” he said.
Five major referral hospitals in the country have management boards. These
are the United Bulawayo Hospitals and Mpilo Central in Bula-wayo,
Parirenyatwa and Harare Central in the capital and Chitungwiza Hospital.
A seven-member management board is expected for Gweru provincial hospital.
The rest are still to have management boards.
Madzorera blamed financial constraints as having contributed to the delay
although critics point to mismanagement, a shortage of health professionals
and deteriorating infrastructure.
Current funding from government is far below what the hospitals require.
Government spending on health care takes up less than half of total health
expenditure even though the public health delivery system serves more than
65 percent of the population.
Four years after Zimbabwe’s economy was dollarised, most of the country’s
public hospitals still do not inspire confidence.
On the outside, the hospitals are characterised by shabby exteriors, dotted
with broken windows and leaking pipes.
The wards themselves are no better, epitomising the decline of what was once
a top-notch health delivery system.
The beds in the country’s main referral hospitals are also not comfortable
for the sick; the wards are over-crowed; medical equipment and vehicles
often in a state of disrepair and the food is not appetising.
Some of the major hospitals have inadequate water, sanitation and waste
disposal facilities and are therefore hazardous to health workers and
There are also concerns regarding the pricing of drugs and
specialist/general doctors’ consultation fees as well as hospital and
maternity fees at city health clinics.
Government has been mulling regulating maternity fees but nothing has come
out of this.
Most hospitals have underdeveloped information systems and research
activities are erratic.
“A report has since been compiled on how best hospitals could be turned
around,” said an official at Harare Hospital who declined to be named for
“I have seen many instances of patients in the public health delivery system
dying when hospitals cannot keep them longer. If you have money, you might
live,” he said.
Most doctors, especially specialist surgeons work in the private sector,
with a few serving the public sector.
Private hospitals are still in a better state although they are beyond the
reach of many.
Jessie Majome, the Deputy Minister of Woman’s Affairs, Gender and Community
Development, said failure by central and local government health
institutions to guarantee access to maternal healthcare was tragic.
“With the absence of free maternal healthcare for those who need it,
Zimbabwe seems poised to remain with the dubious distinction of having the
third highest maternal mortality rates on the continent,” she said.
Majome said a comprehensive and sustainable effort was required to ensure
local authorities and other institutions were resourced to be able to
provide such services.
“It is also time to attend more vigorously to the other causes of high
maternal mortality, such as skilled birth attendant availability and medical
equipment and facilities. The other big question we should pose and answer
as a nation, given the difficulty of financing free maternal care is — where
are the men involved in those pregnancies?” she asked.
“Any correctly functioning society should not leave women, who have
generally less money than men, literally holding the baby when the men
responsible are allowed to sneak out of the picture completely. Let us bring
men into this conversation — they must stand up and be counted and not leave
women to die giving birth to their babies,” Majome said.
Madzorera said while the perception is that public hospitals do not inspire
confidence, his ministry was working hard to improve the situation.
While admitting that it will take long for the hospitals to recover to
levels they were 10 years ago, he said government would do everything
possible to refurbish every hospital.
“We already have a blue print on what needs to be done to revive our health
system. I can promise you that as more funds become available this will
continue changing for the better,” he said.
By Staff Reporter
24 January 2013
High Court Judge Justice Felistas Chatukuta on Thursday again postponed the
bail hearing for detained ZimRights director Okay Machisa.
The ZimRights head, who was arrested last Monday, is accused of attempting
to “defraud the Registrar General’s Office by forging and manufacturing
counterfeit copies of certificates of voter registration.”
His deputy Leo Chamahwinya has been in police custody since December last
year on the same charges.
Machisa’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa filed the bail application in the High
Court following a refusal by Magistrate Tendai Mahwe last week to grant him
bail. The magistrate ruled that the ZimRights boss was “facing a serious
offence of national interest”, and should remain in custody to allow for
some “complex investigations” without interference.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights wrote in a statement that the High
Court judge said he needed extra time, together with the law officer from
the Attorney General’s Office, to go through the transcript of the
Magistrates Court where Machisa was denied bail. The case was postponed to
ZimRights was formally charged as an organization on Wednesday. But the
human rights body has disassociated itself from any alleged criminal
activities and told SW Radio Africa that it was unaware of any voter
registration exercise being conducted by its employees, as reported by the
23 JANUARY 2013
The Matabeleland region in 2012 received the largest budget allocation
totalling over US$136 million from the Ministry of Finance says Minister
In his last monthly review of the state of the economy for 2012, the
Minister of Finance Biti revealed that Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and
South provinces were the biggest beneficiaries from the Treasury in 2012.
Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city with an estimated population of 1
Minister Biti's state of the economy review is contrary some political
assertions made by misguided politicians that there is no development taking
place in the Matabeleland region and that Hon. Biti as the Minister of
Finance is neglecting the region.
The Monthly State of the Economy report gives a detailed update on the
fiscal and other macro-economic developments as at the end of November. The
Matabeleland region budget totalling US$13 248 064 was used in upgrading
various government institutions which included schools, hospitals, clinics,
colleges, universities, rehabilitating water, sewer and roads.
During the same period, the Bulawayo province received a total US$12 553
444. From this budget over US$6,4 million was used to rehabilitate Mpilo
In Matabeleland North, the province received US$55 554 293 and US$8 million
was used for the Gwayi-Shangani dam construction US$4 million for upgrading
the Victoria Falls water supply system while US$2,1 million was used for
refurbishing Victoria Falls Hospital and US$5,3 million for the construction
of Lupane University.
The Infra Link Road covering a distance of 65km was rehabilitated at a total
cost of US$34 million. Over US$700 000 was set aside for irrigation projects
at the Bulawayo Kraal, Chikwarakwara, Hauke, Mankonkoni, Pollards,
Silalabuwa and Zhove.
In Matabeleland South province at total of US$68, 140, 357 was set aside by
Minister Biti. Of this amount, US$3 million was used for upgrading the
Beitbridge water supply system and US$1 million was used for water and sewer
rehabilitation in Gwanda Town. Other districts that benefited in the
province are, Bulilima, Mangwe, Filabusi, Esigondini, Plumtree.
The Ministry of Finance injected US$8,2 million for the construction of
Mtshabezi Dam water pipeline. The water pipeline will provide water to the
city of Bulawayo.
In his report, Minister Biti noted that diamond exports for 2012 as of 15
November stood at US$586 million of which Mbada Diamonds had the highest
export shipments of US$262 million, followed by Anjin Investments with
Minister Biti said major exports were minerals, accounting for 61.8 percent
followed by tobacco at 21.8 percent, agriculture, 9.2 percent, horticulture,
0.3 percent and hunting at 0.2 percent. "Cumulative imports to 15 November
2012 amounted to US$7 billion compared to US$5.5 billion in 2011," said
Thursday, 24 January 2013 11:59
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe comes up against a potentially embarrassing
snub at the African Union summit (AU) this week as he bids to carry his
slain friend Muammar Gaddafi’s dream for a single Africa President.
With an eye on the crown, Mugabe heads to the AU summit in the Ethiopian
capital Addis Ababa with the creation of a supranational union in Africa as
his main agenda.
Turning 89 next month, Mugabe hopes to secure a firm decision from the
summit to create the post of Africa president.
Mugabe's plan to use the forthcoming heads of State summit to push Gaddafi's
pet “United States of Africa” project is likely to run into a brick wall,
The plan, sounded out last week to visiting Benin president, Thomas Boni
Yayi, who is the outgoing AU chairperson, contends a politically united
Africa is the only way to stop Western countries interfering in the internal
affairs of the world's poorest continent.
"Get them to get out of the regional shell and get into one continental
shell," Mugabe told his Benin counterpart last week.
"The continent of Africa: this is what we must become. And there, we must
also have an African head. Yes, we need one. We are not yet there.
"This is what we must go and discuss, but we must also discuss the issues
that divide us."
Quoting founding Ghanaian leader Nkwame Nkrumah, Mugabe said the founding
fathers envisaged a continent united politically, economically and
"We are not there yet. As we stand here people will look at us, as me
Anglophone, him Francophone, you see," he said referring to Yayi.
"There is also lusophone, but we are Africans first and foremost. Africans,
Africans. Look at our skin. That's our continent, we belong to one
continent. We may, by virtue of history, have been divided by certain
boundaries and especially by colonialism. But our founding fathers in 1963
showed us the way and we must take up that teaching that we got in 1963.
That we are one and we must be united."
Gaddafi, the deposed tragi-comic Libyan leader who was beaten to death on 20
October 2011 after his capture by the National Transitional Council fighters
during the Battle of Sirte, used his position as one of the AU's biggest
funders to get the issue on the AU discussion table.
Now posthumously purveyed by Mugabe, analysts say it is likely to fail
garnering support at the Addis summit even though the Zimbabwean leader
seems hell-bent to push the dead man's wish.
Other members of the 54-nation AU, led by South Africa, argue the plan is
impractical and would infringe on the sovereignty of other states.
Mugabe, one of Africa's longest serving leaders, claims Africa needs a
figurehead to represent the continent on the global stage, but observers say
he is eyeing that position himself.
Phillip Pasirayi, a civil rights activist and analyst, said the countries
that make up the AU have different domestic and foreign policies which all
need harmonisation before Mugabe can talk of a single President for Africa.
“Mugabe's proposal of a single Africa President is mere political posturing
from a man who is so desperate to win friends across the continent and
project himself as a Pan-Africanist in the mould of Kwame Nkrumah who
believed in the United States of Africa,” Pasirayi said.
“The idea of a single President, single currency and single government in
Africa is a pipe dream. How possible is continental integration when the
same has failed at regional level. There are deep seated differences among
state parties to the AU and its constituent regional groupings.”
World attention will be focused on the Ethiopian capital, as African leaders
open a three-day 20th AU heads of state summit on Friday.
Mugabe's push for a "supranational union", whose closest realisation is
probably the European Union, envisages the creation of a common market or an
economic union coupled with political superstructures such as continental
institutions, Parliament, government and administration, hence the call for
President of Africa.
In the system, member states renounce national sovereignty for the federal
Critics say historical allegiances, high economic distress and huge economic
disparities in member states and lack of consensus, stand in the way of
Mugabe's grand plan.
“I think these are just geriatric hallucinations,” said analyst Charles
“Mugabe seems to have taken over from Gaddafi in making unrealistic
proposals that are not a priority for the continent.
“Having one president for the continent will not fundamentally change
Africa's fortunes. What is needed is generational change from egoistic
leaders like Mugabe to innovative and people-centred leadership,” added
Mangongera, who is aligned to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC. - Gift
Phiri, Political Editor
by Tawanda Majoni
The Kimberly Process last year certified Zimbabwe to sell its diamonds on
the international market. This would be a welcome development if what is
happening in Marange did not leave us with more questions than answers.
There is no disputing the fact that, when compared to what happened during
the period preceding the formation of the coalition government in 2009,
there is relative stability at the diamond fields, which hogged the global
limelight in the mid-2000s when discovery of gems set off an unprecedented
However, that does not mean all is now well at the diamonds fields.
Persistent rumours and a state clamp down on information into and out of the
area veils strange and mysterious happenings that need intense
In the past two years, several mysterious deaths, some of them work-related,
have been reported in Marange. In some cases, we have been told, people were
buried in shallow graves and thorough investigations have not been
Engaging the local community in a quest to get to the bottom of these sad
incidents does not help as the people talk in hushed tones. Not even
relatives are willing to give information and there is a loud presence of
fear among the people.
This is as confusing as it is spooky. Why so much fear when people are
supposed to be rejoicing over the existence of the God-given gems that
should have turned impoverished rural communities into sparkling
There are still muffled voices about shallow graves with hundreds of bodies
that seemed to have disappeared. You will remember, of course, the dramatic
talk by the likes of Newman Chiadzwa that soldiers had killed and buried in
those graves many illegal panners who had descended on Marange to mine and
trade the diamonds.
Chiadzwa later made a U-turn on his statement, and the government has
officially denied that there were ever any shallow graves at the diamond
fields. Yet there are many in Marange who, away from prying eyes and jutting
ears, accuse Chiadzwa of selling out. Could someone have done something to
him resulting in his retraction of his mass grave claims, the people wonder.
One day, when the Human Rights Commission becomes a proper body, or the
country establishes a sane tool to investigate human rights abuses, the
issue of mass graves should be revisited. Even if they might not have
existed, it would not be honest to say people did not die in their hundreds
at Chiadzwa. For example, the BBC has documentary proof of numerous deaths
and injuries – many of them from dog bites.
Yes, I have heard relatives who testified that they went and collected
bodies of their kith and kin from Marange. But given the war-like situation
that obtained then, one cannot dismiss the fact that a substantial number of
bodies were not claimed for proper burial, and, naturally, one wonders where
the remains are today.
Then there is this current hushed talk about rampant abuses at the mines,
particularly where the Chinese are concerned. Locals and employees talk
about rape, sodomy, torture and all manner of human rights violations taking
place, yet no action is being taken against the perpetrators. It is not
clear whether there is now an official policy on the part of the
government - particularly the police -to turn a blind eye to these flagrant
The cleanliness of the diamonds that emerge from the bowels of Marange
should be measured not only on the basis of the absence of widespread
killings or transparency in mining activities, but also on an absence of
human rights violations in the entire process.
I don’t understand why a mysterious settlement has been set up in the area,
yet people are being forced off their homes to make way for the
ever-encroaching mine fences.
I am also curious about the mysterious planes landing on equally mysterious
aerodromes in Marange and would like one day to establish just what they are
Similarly, I don’t see why the police and other security agents continue to
arrest people for digging wells on their homesteads or claiming compensation
for being displaced. And why are local communities not getting anything from
the community share ownership scheme?
There are, indeed, many skeletons in the Marange cupboard.
- For feedback, please write to email@example.com
on January 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm
Report by Tawanda Mangoma
HARARE – MDC-T Harare Province Spokesman Senator Obert Gutu has challenged
partisan traditional leaders to remove their chiefly robes and contest in
the forthcoming elections and stop acting as secret Zanu PF party activists.
Gutu’s statement comes at a time when there is a rise in reports of chiefs
terrorising villagers for not sympathising with Zanu PF.
” Traditional leaders who have decided to double up as Zanu PF political
commissars will soon regret why they are supping with the devil. They should
know that when you decide to supp with the devil you must use a very long
spoon,” Gutu said.
Senator Gutu who is the Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs added
that his party respected traditional leaders but is against some of their
biased politically driven dictatorial tendencies which lead them to
terrorise villagers under their environs if they are perceived to be against
“An MDC government will respect the institution of chieftainship but then
chiefs have to play ball as well. If they want to be political activists,
then they should remove their chiefly robes and we will square up with them
in the political ring. We respect chiefs but certainly we don’t fear them.”
Traditional chiefs have for years been criticised for aiding Zanu PF
candidates to victory during elections as they would threaten to kill and
banish any suspected opposition supporter.
Their hand was witnessed in 2008 when Chief Kasekete of Muzarabani was
involved in controvesy in which he was reported to have been fueling a
crackdown against villagers supporting the MDC-T.
Head of the Chiefs Council Fortune Charumbira was reported by the state
owned television praising the formation of the healing program but
suprisingly the man is also said to be behind political prosecution of
villagers under his jurisdiction who differ with his political beliefs.
“When the politicians came up with the idea of the National Healing Program,
they thought they could do it on their own. But now they have realised that
for this whole initiative to ensure that people forgive each other and
unite, traditional leaders have their own institutions of ensuring that
people live in harmony.” said Charumbira.
The continued manipulation of the country’s security forces, assets and
chiefs by Zanu PF to prolong its grip on power has been a subject of concern
ever since the Unity Government was formed.
A road map to a free and fair election is now the matter at hand as the
three political parties which form the GPA agreed on the constitution which
now awaits Parliaments approval and then a referendum.
With elections looming the media will resume their old crisis lines,
ignoring the positive results of the land occupations
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 23 January 2013 19.30 GM
Elections will be held in Zimbabwe later this year, leading with grim
predictability to another bout of Mugabe-phobia in the British media. The
trigger for the presidential and parliamentary poll was the deal struck last
week between the 88-year-old president and the leader of the rival Movement
for Democratic Change, the rime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, on a new
After months of wrangling the two men, who have been running the country in
an uneasy coalition for the last four years, agreed on a text. It has not
yet been published, so doubt remains on whether it reduces the president's
power in favour of parliament, as the MDC wanted. But whatever it contains,
the document will have to be put to a referendum.
Then follow elections, and there are already strong hints that they could
again be marked by violence. Mugabe seems determined to stand once more,
admitting he is vulnerable but saying he will fight like "a wounded beast".
Meanwhile, a group of 58 civil organisations last week condemned what they
called a "well-calculated and intensive" assault on human rights activists
and journalists as voter registration gets under way.
As passions risk becoming inflamed again and the old battle positions resume
in Britain's media as well as Zimbabwe's, the danger is that long-term
trends get overlooked. Good news has just emerged from Britain's last former
African colony that shows that the land occupations and evictions of white
farmers by angry veterans of the liberation struggle that was the big
Zimbabwe story of a decade ago did not destroy the country's agriculture, as
so often claimed. Far from it, production is now back to the levels of the
late 1990s and more land is under cultivation than was worked by white
The evidence is contained in Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land, a book based on
several research studies in various parts of the country. The authors look
at Zimbabwe's first land reform right after independence in 1980, which was
not so fiercely contested, as well as the changes sparked by the veterans'
occupations in the late 1990s, which Mugabe's Zanu-PF party originally
ignored but later took over and turned into a political weapon.
The authors criticise Mugabe's economic mismanagement, which led to
hyperinflation between 2005 and 2008. It was not the land reform that caused
hyperinflation, but bad economic decisions. They say the introduction of the
US dollar by the unity government four years ago brought a quicker economic
recovery and hence greater benefits for farm producers than anyone expected.
They have the courage to criticise Amnesty International for exaggerating
the plight of farm workers who were forced off formerly "white" land taken
over by Africans, and say that by 2011 the number of people working on
resettlement land had increased more than fivefold, from 167,000 to over a
They have a go at a prominent BBC report which, they say, fell for the myth
of a cornucopia when white people ran most of commercial agriculture and a
"black disaster" thereafter. White farmers never used all the land they had
taken. In the years just before minority rule collapsed, in spite of
generous government subsidies, 30% of white farmers were insolvent and
another 30% only broke even. Some 66% of arable land was lying fallow.
After the occupations in 2000, although some new African farmers reverted to
subsistence agriculture, a growing number have been moving into commercial
farming and there has even been a healthy return to the land by urban black
people. In part this is because land is still highly prized in Zimbabwe and
the desire to recover it was so crucial an element, ideologically and
emotionally, in the struggle against white settlement. Indeed, the authors
start their book with an arch reminder of an earlier generation of war
veterans who evicted farmers and burnt their houses. They included the
former Rhodesian white minority leader Ian Smith and other champions of
white minority rule who got their economic start in life in 1945 by defining
African farmers as squatters and throwing them – without compensation – off
land that the foreign settlers' government designated as the exclusive
preserve of white people. "Regaining the land was central to the
independence struggle in a way that was never the case in Mozambique and
South Africa … Mozambique's urbanised elite simply do not think of farming,"
In spite of the progress of recent years the book argues that Zimbabwean
farming still faces major challenges of investment shortages and training.
It takes a generation for farmers to master their land and 10 years is too
short a period to judge the complete success of the occupations. But the
record is far better than the outside world gives credit for. While Zimbabwe
Takes Back Its Land focuses on a specific controversy, its challenge to
conventional wisdom and stereotyping offers wider lessons. It is a reminder
that crisis coverage, even when accurate, is only a part of what the media
should be about. Follow-ups and reports on long-term trends are equally
• Jonathan Steele covered Zimbabwe's elections in 2000 for the Guardian
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 23rd January 2013
I am not convinced that the so-called proposed restructuring of ZESA to
National Grid Services Company (NGSC) by Zimbabwe’s GNU will solve all the
practical problems associated with Zesa.
News that the Government is planning to drop the name Zesa completely in
preference for a very long, meaningless and difficult abbreviation called
NGSC, without addressing the real problem of efficient power generation,
transmission and distribution makes me suspect spin ahead of polls.
While I am fully aware of the fact that Zesa as an institution has caused
serious social and economic problems due to power outages, sometimes
unjustified disconnections, and incorrect or estimated billing, as a
Zimbabwean I am strongly opposed to that name being dropped and would like
it to remain because it is part of our history as a people. I am very
nostalgic about Zesa – Moto Muzhinji!
After tinkering with Zesa, does it mean that the name Zimbabwe also risks
being dropped for something else because of the country’s notorious levels
The GNU must be pressed to tell the truth about what will be achieved by the
proposed dropping of the name Zesa which was not achieved by the two
previous restructuring efforts in 1997 and in 2006.
What can the so-called National Grid Services Company (NGSC) do differently
which Zesa has failed to do despite having three parties in government and
the dollarization of Zimbabwe’s economy?
It is my strongest suspicion that plans to shed the name Zesa from people’s
memories completely has something to do with the forthcoming harmonised
elections which entail running presidential, parliamentary, senate and local
government council elections at the same time.
And there is even another absurd suggestion to run the referendum alongside
harmonised elections, so there is a lot at stake given the people’s anger at
what they perceive as Zesa’s inefficiency or ‘Zimbabwe Electricity Sometimes
But, I am still opposed to dropping the name Zesa because it is not uncommon
for people to vent their anger that way. I am aware that the former National
Electric Power Authority (NEPA) of Nigeria was pejoratively referred to as
the ‘No Electricity Power Authority’ (NEPA) due to blackouts and is now
called the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) which is difficult to
play around with!
Arguably Zimbabwe’s energy problems were compounded by Zanu-pf’s sleeze and
cronyism but now that the MDC formations are part of the government, they
should tackle the challenges head on, not to engage in smoke and mirrors.
The sad truth is that load shedding is there to stay for years regardless of
the name of the utility company because Zimbabwe has failed to invest in
infrastructure for generating more power preferring to postpone important
decisions indefinitely until crisis point with power tenders being cancelled
at the last minute and others put on ice since time immemorial.
For instance, the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Power project with potential capacity
of 1,600MW has been on the cards since 1993 and only got to tender in
December 2012 arguably after reaching adolescence and remains a pipedream
until construction starts and is projected to end in 2019.
Under pressure to seal a deal on Batoka, Zimbabwe risks offering Zambia free
electricity as payment for the colonial debt in order to entice them into a
quick agreement with serious implications for future generations similar to
the infamous US$98 million Chinese loan for the Zanu-pf spy centre also
secured under dubious circumstances, now being paid for from diamond
proceeds while people drink cholera and typhoid.
It is no secret that Zimbabwe’s failure to attract Independent Power
Producers (IPPs) has something to do with the lack of transparency of
process, uncompetitive bidding processes, unstable policy regime,
inappropriate allocation of risk (e.g. surrender 51% shares now but no cash
on the table) and the absence of political will as called for by the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
It also worth pointing out that apart from indigenisation, another thing
that puts-off IPP investors is the brand itself – what you are selling. For
instance some of the power plants are as old as some of the cabinet
ministers, therefore, there is need for a lot of refurbishment costing
millions of dollars before an investor get’s value for his or her money.
While that may sound like a tall order, the progressive elements in the GNU
should press for incentives for renewable energy resources to combat rural
energy poverty ( e.g. tax rebates for installing solar power), and to reduce
inefficiencies caused by years of dithering by an economy of affection.
With all the sunshine that is reportedly causing people to faint as happened
on Monday at Heroes Acre, Zimbabwe should seriously promote the use of solar
energy for cooking, lighting, computing, traffic lights, and even driving
solar powered cars and so on by getting ideas and affordable technologies
available in other developing countries like India.
Now, who believes dropping the name Zesa is the solution?
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London
Driving around the city of Harare presents an image that may bring the weak close to tears especially if you have been outside the country for a while. In addition to dangerous potholes, heaps of garbage and crumpling buildings, one is confronted with faces of ordinary citizens punctuated with despondency and surrender. Ironically, the number of imported vehicles, some of them top of the range, continue to flood the streets. We have graduated from satellite dishes to cars! At the same time, the quality of life continues to plummet. Have we become a nation of misplaced priorities?
The employment rate is comparable to the unemployment rate for most of the world’s functional economies. Like Cuba and other so-called socialist countries, government is now the primary employer followed closely by retail and transport, to an extent, hospitality. Major industrial areas still have the silence of the grave. This is not hyperbolic.
If you bother to visit or drive past the place popularly known as kuMbudzi just outside Harare towards Masvingo, you will be shocked to see multitudes of Zimbabweans flagging down motorists. If you stop to ask where they are going, “kuBridge” is the most frequent response meaning “to Beitbridge”
You are left wondering why “kuBridge”. Indeed, it is about survival. Zimbabweans seem to be getting more resourceful each day. Cross-border travellers who jump onto a luxury coach and pay for the full trip to Johannesburg will have their “papers” in order i.e passport and other travel documents therefore don’t present a risk to transport operators. Those who shout “kuBridge”, often will be travelling all the way to Johannesburg or even as far as Cape Town or Durban.
Prompting further why this is the case, you will discover the real reasons. Beitbridge is where they meet cartels that make a living out of facilitating border jumping. Some of these will be immigration and police officers on both sides of the border. Once they are across the border, they will then find ways of getting to their ultimate destinations, at times paying along the way to be allowed to proceed. Some become South Africans once they are on the other side of the border, using a mix of genuine and fake identity documents.
One is then forced to reflect on what our brothers and sisters from Mozambique went through at the height of the civil war in their country. They would cross illegally into Zimbabwe and settle for anything once they were in the country. Anything was better than being in Mozambique at the time. For the first time, we saw young men and boys working as “maids” for countless families.
Given the abundance of education, skills, mineral resources and rich farmlands that Zimbabwe is enviously endowed with, what has led this nation with such great potential to sink so low? The answer lies in misgovernance. Clearly, we cannot continue on this untenable path for much longer lest we wake up one day to a massive implosion if not explosion.
To extricate ourselves from this conundrum, we must redefine our destiny through change of government. For nearly 33 years, recycled ZANU PF governments’ greatest achievement was rearing the ugly head of corruption to the extent that it became an acceptable sub-culture. On the other hand, the four-year-old GNU has had its fair share of limitations and challenges.
MDC-T, as the substantive future government (given free and fair elections), must now work round the clock in preparing for the onerous eventuality. Part of that preparation starts with primary elections. When selecting candidates for the next election, there has to be emphasis on quality, quality and quality. The politics of populism and sloganeering is gone and gone for good. Zimbabweans are now a lot more enlightened politically than they were a decade ago. Every candidate will be thoroughly scrutinised. Those who have been caught in a web of corruption, self-aggrandisement or poor performance including councillors must not be given another chance. There is no shortage of quality candidates in the movement.
The party must also formulate a clear strategy to eradicate/transform all forms of retrogressive forces that were systematically planted and embedded across every sector of the economy over the years. A timely combination of retraining and reaching out to the Diaspora might produce positive results. Zimbabwe must change.
Moses Chamboko writes in his personal capacity. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org